Kicked, beaten, spat at, this is what West Yorkshire Police officers have to put up with every week

Up to 50 police officers are being attacked every week in the course of their duties in West Yorkshire.

Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 12:25 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 1:22 pm
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Officers were punched, kicked, bitten and spat at during a one week period, according to figures released by the West Yorkshire Police Federation.

West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Brian Booth said: “We 30-50 reports of officers being attacked every week.

“It has a massive effect on our officers, on their mental health. Just imagine turning up for work not knowing if you are going to be spat at or bitten.

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West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Brian Booth.

“It also affects them when they are off-duty. We’ve had officers unable to kiss their children for two months while they wait for Hepatitis C test results because they’ve been spat at.

“Officers are turning up for family weddings with black eyes.”

The most recent figures from the West Yorkshire Police Federation show that 34 police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) were attacked.

Ten were punched, eight were kicked, four were grappled or had bodily force used against them, four were spat at, one officer was bitten and one had an object thrown at them.

Two objects were thrown at PCSOs, one was kicked, while another was hit by a vehicle.

Mr Booth also raised the issues of cuts to police numbers.

“We have 800 fewer officers in West Yorkshire compared to 2009 and we just can’t afford to lose one more officer.

“These are your officers - look after them. If people keep breaking them then there will be fewer officers and less of a service for members of the public.

"Attacks on emergency service workers have received more publicity in the past year as the Protect the Protectors bill has passed through parliament. It means people who assault emergency service staff face tougher prison sentences.

Mr Booth called for judges to implement tougher sentences quickly to set an example.

Temporary Chief Constable John Robins of West Yorkshire Police said: “Assaulting an emergency service worker is totally unacceptable.

“Police officers and staff undertake extremely challenging jobs across some of the busiest and complex metropolitan areas in the country, providing a public service in sometimes in dangerous and difficult situations, so they deserve protection.

“Police officers and staff are there to keep our communities safe and there is no excuse for violence against them.

“We encourage police officers and staff to report all assaults and violence against them and I keep reinforcing that they should never accept being assaulted or abused as being part of their job.

“We have worked hard to support officers and staff who have been assaulted or abused.

“Not only do we have a plan if staff are assaulted, we have also pioneered a Chief Constable’s statement which is included in prosecution files and shared with the Courts; this highlights the personal impact and gravity of assaulting a police employee whilst at work.“We have also introduced body worn video technology which allows officers and staff to capture the circumstances leading up to an assault.

“Body worn video can also act as a deterrent to incidents occurring in the first place.

“In addition West Yorkshire Police fully supports the Protect the Protectors campaign and the new legislation that makes it a specific offence to assault an emergency service worker.”